How to Make a Contoured Cushion With Foam Ridge

Item # X-HT-300364

A cushion with a contoured foam ridge is a sleek, comfortable place for you to rest. Not only does it look attractive, but it also provides more support than a regular cushion. A contoured foam ridge on a cushion helps to support you while you’re sitting by cupping you into the seat and lifting your legs slightly to reduce lumbar strain. If you have a cushion with varying heights of foam that’s attached to a backer board and you’d like to reupholster it, we’re here to help! In this helpful guide, we’ll detail how to reupholster this type of contoured cushion, including cutting and gluing upholstery foam, patterning, sewing fabric and piping, and much more.

How is this type of cushion made? Usually, it’s two separate sections of upholstery foam with the front foam being slightly higher or thicker than the back foam. Due to the contoured shape (two different heights of foam), a simple fabric cover cannot be used, as the fabric would hang loose between the varying heights of foam. To remedy this issue, a fabric pull is sewn inside the cushion between the two layers of foam. It is then stapled under tension to the backer board. Finally, the cushion cover is pulled between the two different heights of foam to create a contoured look.

Both the foam and the fabric in our cushion was badly deteriorated and needed to be replaced. So we’ll be using our old foam to pattern and cut new foam, and we’ll be using the old cover material as a reference to make the new cover for our new foam. It helps to take photos of your old cover so that when you tear it apart you can still remember how it was constructed. In our case, we’ve chosen to re-pattern the new foam, but if you don’t want to do that, place matchup marks on the seams at various locations of your old cover before tearing it apart. This way you'll know exactly where the panels should be sewn together when you make new ones. Every panel that’s matched to a secondary panel should have a matchup mark going from one panel to the adjacent panel.

Should you choose to use your old cover fabric as a pattern for the new cover, make sure the old cover fits well over your foam. If you’re using new foam, be sure that your new cover fits correctly over this new foam as it may be a new size and thickness compared to the old foam. If you need to replace your cushion foam, Sailrite® carries an exceptional array of foam for many applications. Here we’re using High Density Polyurethane Foam, which is a comfortable upholstery foam that is specifically designed for high-traffic indoor seating applications. Not sure which foam is right for your project? Check out our Foam Sample Box (#121658), which includes 11 foam samples, a sample of polyester batting and silk film, plus a helpful guide to assist you.

When it comes to sewing cushion covers with superior durability and a classic faux leather look, we’ve selected Morbern® Seabrook. As a multipurpose vinyl, Morbern is perfect for marine and automotive cushions because it’s mildew and abrasion resistant, flame retardant and easy to clean! For all your project essentials such as fabric, piping, sewing notions and top-quality sewing machines, Sailrite is your one-stop shop. Browse our incredible selection of products before embarking on your next DIY.

How did your contoured cushion upholstery job turn out? After watching this video, we’d love to see your finished projects in the comments!

Video Chapters:

  • Evaluating Old Cushion -- 2:12 min.
  • Gluing & Cutting New Foam -- 5:20 min.
  • Making a New Cushion Pattern -- 9:30 min.
  • Patterning Vinyl Fabric -- 18:48 min.
  • Sewing Piping -- 24:34 min.
  • Sewing Panels Together -- 28:31 min.
  • Creating Fabric Pull -- 40:17 min.
  • Stapling Cushion Cover on Backerboard -- 44:46 min.
  • Removing Wrinkles -- 57:51 min.
  • Stapling Back Cover Fabric on Backerboard -- 1:00:16 min.
  • Materials List -- 1:01:47 min.

Materials List:

  • Foam Lock Spray Adhesive 12oz - Item #120464
  • High Density Polyurethane Foam from Sailrite
  • Dura‑Skrim® Patterning Material 74" - Item #103134
  • Morbern® Seabrook Chalk 54" Vinyl Fabric - Item #105970
  • Morbern® Seabrook Vinyl Welting/Piping Chalk - Item #120138
  • Thread V‑92 White Polyester UV 4oz (1,350Yds) - Item #100079
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery - Item #104167
  • Roc Lon® EconoSheen™ White 54" Drapery Lining Fabric - Item #120164
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film 54" - Item #103933
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Stainless Steel) - Item #8010SS
  • Phifertex® Plus Vinyl Mesh White 54" Fabric - Item #2358

Tools List:

  • Gingher® Scissors Right Hand Lightweight 8" - Item #101017
  • Sailrite® Blade Foam Saw with Carrying Case (110V) - Item #121244
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" Item #102400
  • Sailrite® Fabricator®, Table & Workhorse™ Servo Motor - Item #400500
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun - Item #121410
  • Tack & Staple Remover - Item #104319
  • Marker, Pencil, Heat Gun